Multiwavelength Transit Observations of the Candidate Disintegrating Planetesimals Orbiting WD 1145+017

Croll, Bryce and Dalba, Paul A. and Vanderburg, Andrew and Eastman, Jason and Rappaport, Saul and De Vore, John and Bieryla, Allyson and Muirhead, Philip S. and Han, Eunkyu and Latham, David W. and Beatty, Thomas G. and Wittenmyer, Robert A. and Wright, Jason T. and Johnson, John Asher and McCrady, Nate (2017) Multiwavelength Transit Observations of the Candidate Disintegrating Planetesimals Orbiting WD 1145+017. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 836 (1). ISSN 0004-637X

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We present multiwavelength, ground-based follow-up photometry of the white dwarf WD 1145+017, which has recently been suggested to be orbited by up to six or more short-period, low-mass, disintegrating planetesimals. We detect nine significant dips in flux of between 10% and 30% of the stellar flux in our ∼32 hr of photometry, suggesting that WD 1145+017 is indeed being orbited by multiple, short-period objects. Through fits to the asymmetric transits that we observe, we confirm that the transit egress is usually longer than the ingress, and that the transit duration is longer than expected for a solid body at these short periods, all suggesting that these objects have cometary tails streaming behind them. The precise orbital periods of the planetesimals are unclear, but at least one object, and likely more, have orbital periods of ∼4.5 hr. We are otherwise unable to confirm the specific periods that have been reported, bringing into question the long-term stability of these periods. Our high-precision photometry also displays low-amplitude variations, suggesting that dusty material is consistently passing in front of the white dwarf, either from discarded material from these disintegrating planetesimals or from the detected dusty debris disk. We compare the transit depths in the V- and R-bands of our multiwavelength photometry, and find no significant difference; therefore, for likely compositions, the radius of single-size particles in the cometary tails streaming behind the planetesimals must be ∼0.15 μm or larger, or ∼0.06 μm or smaller, with 2σ confidence.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2017 00:18
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2018 04:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: eclipses; planetary systems; stars; individual (WD 1145+017); techniques; photometric;
Fields of Research (2008): 02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020108 Planetary Science (excl. Extraterrestrial Geology)
Fields of Research (2020): 51 PHYSICAL SCIENCES > 5199 Other physical sciences > 519999 Other physical sciences not elsewhere classified
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